Cooking

A Cut Above

A Berkeley butcher shop with chops
The Local Butcher Shop

If all the food at Berkeley's new The Local Butcher Shop is as good as its tallow-fried potato chips, we're in luck.

The shop is a mix of Old World and New. The modern space has gleaming white subway tiles and chalkboard menus, but owner Aaron Rocchino, who runs the shop with his wife, Monica, sports a collared shirt and tie under his apron, and knife-wielding butchers break down primal cuts of local meat in direct view of customers.

The Rocchinos met while working at Oliveto; Aaron was most recently a cook at Chez Panisse. He's sourcing meat from many of the same ranchers used by the iconic restaurant, including beef from Magruder Ranch in Mendocino and lamb from Napa's Don Watson.

The Rocchinos have devised an innovative strategy for pricing the meat, dividing animals into three sections (front, middle and rear) and pricing them accordingly. It's a way of shifting the perceived value of certain cuts, democratizing the filet and celebrating the brisket.

The shop also sells charcuterie, including a garlicky, peppercorn- and pistachio-studded mortadella ($8 per pound). And the freezer case is a boon for harried but discriminating cooks, filled with jars of beef demi-glace ($3) and roasted poultry stock ($12).

The Local Butcher Shop, 1600 Shattuck Ave. (entrance on Cedar St.), Berkeley; 510-845-6328 or thelocalbutchershop.com

The Local Butcher Shop 1600 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley CA 94709 510-845-6328

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